Martin Luther developed a fear of death, and in particular, the concept of everlasting hellfire. He was taught to fear a harsh God threatening terrible punishments. He could not reconcile man’s sinful condition, God’s terrifying righteousness, and the writings of Paul. So he came to the conclusion that God transposes his perfect sinless righteousness onto man as a gift by grace. His conclusion is a misunderstanding of the Bible that lacks a comprehensive Biblical perspective using both Old and New Testaments.
Grace is favor bestowed by a stronger one to a weaker one in need to help. Hesed is an expression of God’s character based on His promises. It is a free gift. Grace is extended to man from God through Christ, the formal representation of the Father’s character. Grace is a fundamental aspect of who God is.
It is by His grace alone that the faithful are called, and His truth is revealed to them. Grace is extended to us for a purpose, which is the extension of His grace to His entire creation. We must therefore be living examples of God’s graciousness.
The protestant community sets grace in opposition to law. Yet grace at the personal level must involve repentance as a fitting response to God’s calling. We are saved by grace through faith. Belief without response is dead. Belief accompanied by change is life. Living faith is active and productive.
God’s law is the expression of God’s mind, and the tool by which His creation is being reconciled to Him. The purpose of the law is not to justify us, or to wash us clean. Rather it is to define sin and righteousness. In faith the sinner repents of sin, and is justified by God’s gracious penalty. The faithful are then enabled to express God’s love back to Him, and to others.
Martin Luther – Deuteronomy 32:22-23 – Genesis 39:4, 21 – grace – law – legalism – I Kings 21:25 – Isaiah 63:7-9 – hesed – chen – John 1:17 – I Corinthians 15:45 – sin, II Timothy 1:9 – Acts 1:19 – 13:43 – John 15:16 – II Thessalonians 1:1, 11 – graciousness – Philippians 1:3 – Ephesians 2:4 – James 2:14 – Romans 2:13 – Romans 3:20, 31 – Matthew 22:37 – faith – justification – Martin Luther – protestantism – Colossians 1:6, 3:16, 4:6 – I Peter 5:5, 4:10